Michaels view on improvement of prisoner support:

  I think sometimes people worry that they should be sending a long interesting letter, but for me anyway, just knowing that there are people out thinking about me was enough to keep my spirits up, especially at the beginning of my sentence.

Even a postcard can really cheer you up.

I 've probably told you before how good it feels when the miserable screw delivering the post realises that half of the letter are for one person. And sitting in that cell for 23 hours a day, sometimes I'd be just waiting for the mail delivery. It was all I had to look forward to.

Receiving letters is great, but sometimes more practical help is needed, like money, books etc. The only time that I was worried about money, Brigthon ABC and the legal Defense and Monitoring Group with RTS both came up tromps, sending postal orders to all the Mayday prisoners at Christmas. That was one of the best moments of prisoner support, not just because I needed the money, but because of the way it happened.

I wasn't working, so I was about to go onto 2.50 a week which is the minimum every prisoner gets. It wasn't just the money situation that was getting me down, but it certainly made it worse.

I thank you for all your letters and hope you don't mind that I haven't written as much as you. I think that is something to remember when writing to prisoners- we sometimes find it hard to reply. Its just that prison can de-motivate you and even though I am really happy to get letters, sometimes I need to just escape into a book for a few days. I try to write little short letters in reply, but I feel so grateful that someone has taken the time to write to me that I want to write a proper reply.

For as long as there has been oppression and exploitation, there has been resistance. Whenever the resistance starts to become effective, the state modifies its methods. New laws are brought in to crush the fightback and prison is always there to crush the individuals involved. By supporting prisoners we defend them against the brutality of the state and defend the movement, too.

Michael Collins

Mayday 2000 prisoner,

released 14th Aug 01

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